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    Ageism in the LGBT Community

    By Michael Costa

    Ageism is an issue in American society in general, given a fundamental cultural preference for “young,” “new,” and “fresh.” Those who are “older” and “aging” face certain challenges: socially, professionally, and personally. Such challenges can be heightened among LGBT individuals because, in part, of our own community’s preference for young, fresh, and, of course, “pretty.”

    The Alice B Toklas LGBT Democratic Club is hosting one of the first forums to discuss ageism in the LGBT community on September 12 from 6:30–8 pm. The panel will take place at the Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics, 518 Valencia St., between 16th and 17th streets in San Francisco.

    The public is invited to hear a distinguished panel discuss how ageism occurs in a wide range of areas, including employment, housing, and social services, and how ageism is experienced by LGBT elders on a personal and social level every day. The panel will also discuss how ageism can be addressed going forward, acknowledging that awareness is the prelude to action. Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A period following the panel discussion.

    Panelists include:

    Shireen McSpadden: Director of the San Francisco Department of Adult and Aging Services

    Dr. Marcy Adelman, Ph.D.: Co-founder of Openhouse and a practicing clinical psychologist

    Daniel Redman, JD: Elder Law Attorney at Springs and Associates, formerly at NCLR

    Sam Trevino, MSW: Faculty member at CSU Monterey Bay who focuses on ageism and how diversity influences the experience and perception of ageism

    As a member of the San Francisco LGBT Aging Policy Taskforce and a longtime Alice board member with 30 years’ work in social and health policy areas, I will be moderating the panel.

    Alice Co-chair Lou Fischer summed up the spirit of the panel best:

    “I’ve been living and working in San Francisco for decades, and understand that sometimes our community fails to treat all of our community members with the compassion and respect that they deserve. This panel will look for ways to address these very real problems facing the LGBT community and San Francisco as a whole.”

    Sept 1 2016 FINAL small.ArtAidscover_Page_07_Image_0004Michael Costa, MPP, is a healthcare consultant focusing on the integration of health and social services for the aging population, including LGBT elders.


    Dr. Marcy Adelman oversees the Aging in Community column. For her summary
    of current LGBT senior challenges and opportunities, please go to: